Football Memories – Roddy MacLennan

Late 1940’s Early 1950’s

Peko scored a goal for Seaside Rovers and isn’t even on the team.

At a football match in Fearn, Fearn Thistle took on Seaside Rovers, the spectators used to stand very close to the pitch. Peko was standing beside the Fearn goal posts when a shot for goal was just going past, Peko flicked it into the net with his hand.

The referee gave the goal as he didn’t see what happened, you can imagine the rumpus this caused, however the goal stood.


A few of the young Fearn boys cycled to Balintore to watch a football match between the Seaside Rovers and Alness. There was always a large crowd at home games. Sobering news reached the crowd and the Seaside Rovers just before kick off, word went round that Alness were unable to play but if the crowd waited a short time the German Prisoners of War Football Team, who were billeted in the local camp at the aerodrome, would come down and play the Seaside Rovers, who were, at the time one of the best teams in the Ross Shire League.

After an exciting football match Seaside Rovers lost the game. Fritz Grassoff the German goalkeeper, gave a star performance and was signed by Fearn Thistle Football Club. Another star was Gollan, the outside left player for the German Prisoner of War Football Club, he was signed by Tain Thistle Football Club.

The match between the Seaside Rovers and the German Prisoner of War Football Club was played on the old football pitch, prior to the houses at Rovers Crescent being built.


1950’s – Early 1960’s

Carnival Cup:  Seaside Rovers versus Fearn Thistle.

The Carnival Cup football match was always played after the water sports. One year Fearn Thistle arrived and only had ten players as someone failed to turn up.

All of the Fearn Thistle signed Seaboard players were playing for Seaside Rovers against them however Fearn Thistle were offered a player who was too young to play for the Seaside Rovers team. That young player was David ‘Dusty’ Vass, who scored the winning goal for Fearn Thistle.


Hector McNair sometimes refereed the Carnival Cup Football Match. One year he was working overtime with Morrisons of Tain and arrived home just before kick off. He had to rush to make it in time and told us afterwards, that when he had blown the whistle to start the game he still had a slice of spam stuck to the roof of his mouth.


Seaside Rovers didn’t have a team in the Ross Shire league at this time but many Seaboard players signed for Fearn Thistle.

One game that brings back memories is Cromarty versus Fearn Thistle. For years Cromarty were unbeaten with a fine team, including two Highland league players, Gillies and Hogg.

 Donnie Ross or “Rossack”, as he was affectionately known was the Fearn Thistle goalkeeper, he saved a penalty kick and from that moment on Fearn Thistle took control of the game. The first time in years Cromarty had been beaten at home.

The referee got the blame and was harassed by the home crowd all the way down to the Cromarty ferry boat. The Fearn team and supporters were also on the boat. Half way across Lal MacKenzie, the referee, threw his football boots into the sea and said, “That’s the last time I will ever ref a game.”

He did, however referee football matches again just not in Cromarty.